Make the most of fish eggs or roe during monsoon. Photo: Gitika Saikia
In Assam, we have a saying ‘maas’or telotey maas bhoja’ meaning ‘cook fish in its own oil’.
Fish is supposed to release oil while cooking and when intestines are added, it automatically releases a considerable amount of aromatic oil or rather fat. Therefore, we reduce the amount of oil to prepare any fish recipe.
To be honest, fish is my favourite and I long for monsoons when fresh fish eggs and intestines are packed in a separate bag by fishermen as it is always cooked separately.
Be it stir fry or batter fried or curried, we three siblings can wipe off a plateful of eggs on any given day.
And then, I shifted to Mumbai 18 years ago for studies, career and eventually got married to my better half from Assam - but my love for fish eggs never ceased!
The first few years of my life in Mumbai went in finding fresh water fish, and by the time I discovered a vendor, it was time to shift to another house with bags and baggage, but my search continued.
The better half is a non-vegetarian, but has selective taste-buds. He doesn’t enjoy eating fish eggs or intestines or too much fish for that matter.
So, there is no fun eating these dishes without an equally spirited partner. But, I continue cooking and eating when my friends drop by and at times I invite them to intentionally, rather shamelessly.
Finally when I started doing Assamese food pop-ups in Mumbai, my hopes of reminiscing memories looked no longer a distant dream.
One fine day, I chanced upon cooking it in a different way – with brinjal. Yes, of all vegetables!
Recipe for Maas’or Koni aru Bengena or Fish Eggs with Brinjal
Fish eggs and intestines - 250 gms
Long brinjals - 3
Green Chili - 5 chopped
Onion - 1 chopped
Salt and turmeric
1. Heat oil in a kadhai.
2. Fry onions and green chilies. Add chopped brinjal, intestines, salt and turmeric.
3. Cover and cook for 5 minutes.
4. Now add fish eggs and break it into small pieces with your ladle.
5. Cover it and cook for another 15 – 20 minutes.
6. The dish is ready to be relished with a plate of plain rice and plain masur dal.
Notes: Cook roe while it is available or wait until the next monsoon.
Gitika calls herself as an Assamese food evangelist. Once a marketing professional, she is now a North East Indian food curator in Mumbai. She wants to showcase and promote Assamese tribal food on Gitika's Pak Ghor.